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Epcot Food and Wine Festival – a First-Timer’s Guide

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival: For many Disney World fans, these words have an almost Pavlovian effect, causing those who have been to the festival before to get a dreamy look in their eyes as their mouth begins to water…..

If it’s your first time at the festival, there are a few things you should definitely know before you go!

What’s it all about?

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival is an annual event where Disney World guests can try delicious dishes and drinks from around the world.

When is it?

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2016 takes place from September 14th – November 14th

What kind of food & wine is there?

Each participating country or region has its own outdoor booth around the Epcot World Showcase, offering a selection of food and drinks. Each booth features 2-5 food choices and 3-6 beer, wine, cocktail, or other drink options.

Marrakesh at Epcot
The Marrakesh Pavilion (image: flickr.com/photos/kathika/)

There are over 30 different booths, as well as a Chocolate Studio and a craft beer booth, which means hundreds of different food and drink choices!

What else happens at the festival?

Although eating and drinking are the main event, the festival also includes concerts, limited edition merchandise, culinary demonstrations, wine seminars, and more! On entering the park, you can pick up a festival guide that is full of information including a schedule of special events and a map of booth locations.

Tip: It’s quieter during the week!

Epcot Food & Wine festival is hugely popular with Florida residents, so weekends tend to be packed with locals; plan on visiting mid-week for lighter crowds and shorter lines at the booths!

Greece at Epcot
The Greece Pavilion (image: flickr.com/photos/joeshlabotnik/)

How much does it cost?

All Disney World Florida tickets from FloridaTix include admission to Epcot and the Food & Wine Festival, but how much you spend on food and drinks is entirely up to you!

Most food or drink options range from $3-8 each. Although they are appetizer-sized, many guests choose to split dishes with their companions to maximize both their budget and the number of different foods they can sample before feeling totally stuffed!

Many of the special activities are included with admission, but others, such as the “Party for the Senses” (see below) and educational tasting seminars may require an extra fee and/or reservations.

Eat to the Beat! Music & Entertainment

The festival admission also includes daily “Eat to the Beat” concerts starring well-known singers and bands! The line-up changes each year, and has previously featured acts like Boyz II Men, Chaka Khan, Sugar Ray, and Rick Springfield.

Eat to the Beat at Epcot food and wine festival
A side order of music at Eat to the Beat! (Image: flickr.com/photos/jtkays/)

Tip: It’s not uncommon for guests to start queuing up more than an hour before each concert, so be sure to arrive early if you want seats near the stage!

Demonstrations, Tasting Events & Seminars

For serious foodies, the festival includes special events where you can learn more about food and drinks from the experts. These usually include:

  • Party for the Senses, which includes tasting stations with celebrity chefs, drinks and entertainment from Cirque du Soleil.
  • Seminars where you can study mixology, become a cheese expert, or learn about wine, cider, vodka, rum, bourbon, champagne, and more!
  • Culinary demonstrations by top Disney World restaurant chefs and visiting experts.
  • Food and beverage pairing experiences at World Showcase restaurants.
  • Brunch with celebrity chefs.

Whether you just plan to pick up a few snacks during a normal day of Epcot adventures or you want to dedicate an entire trip just to enjoying the International Food & Wine Festival, knowing what to expect will help you make the most of your festival experience!

Planning to visit? Find out more about Epcot

Top Image: flickr.com/photos/kathika/

About the author:

Crystal Ward spent three years getting paid to go to Disney World five days a week (its a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!) She currently spends her time writing, travelling, blogging, and perfecting the art of being a cat lady.
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